Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Brisbane Tip Shop Project #1

I spent almost four hours today at ‘the tip shop’. The what shop? The tip shop. Tip, as in, rubbish tip. And shop, as in, the place where you buy things. The common misconception is obviously that I would be buying rubbish, but as I found out today, the tip shop is more like a roughian gold mine.

So first I need to explain how I came to be at this remarkable place. My wonderful artist mother found out about a competition being run by the Endeavour Foundation people who run the tip shop and the Brisbane City Council. You had to apply (then be accepted) and what happens is that you are allowed to pick any one piece of furniture for sale at the tip shop, then you have about 3 or so weeks and a $250 stipend to totally re-vamp it, and then you present it and the winner of a publicly-voted ‘people’s choice award’ wins the competition and pockets a tasty $500!

I KNOW! Its just the greatest most wonderful competition I’ve ever heard of, and I agree with you that it’s almost too good to be true, but it’s real. The tip shop needs some positive publicity to bring recycling issues to light, and it’s a brilliant way for the council to remind people that awesome things can be done with the old tables and couches and cabinets that we grow bored with.

I didn’t even know this place existed, and that’s kind of embarrassing because I’m such an avid vintage and op-shop lover. Apparently it only opened a year or so ago, so maybe my ‘but I was away!’ excuse can get me off the hook here. There is a wonderful tip shop on the Sunshine Coast near where my brother lives, but it’s only open on the weekend and it’s always PACKED with people. I think this new one (read: you know, new for me) in Brisbane at Acacia Ridge is going to get very popular very quickly.

Anyways, my mum entered us as a team! So we turned up bright and early at midday, and behind a high steel fence, within a big industrial shed, was a treasure trove of oddities and retro furniture and bikes and books and walking frames and wheelchairs and kitchen sinks and mirrors and fish.

We latched our eyes onto a big solid wood cabinet and immediately began brainstorming all the radical things we could do to it to make it awesome. Trouble was, that it had a big ‘SOLD’ sticker on it! But nevermind that - the ideas we came up with involved drinks and children’s books’ illustrations and maybe even LED lights… so we need a cabinet! We’re heading back on Monday for anther look when new stock arrives (which is every Monday, by the way) and I’m sure we’ll find a big wooden thing that fits the bill. I can’t give away too much right now, but I am totally stoked we get to keep the finished piece at the end.

I think this project might just be one of the most superawesomest things I’ve ever taken part in creating.

The things that made today even better than it possibly could have been, were that 1) I bought THE GREATEST ASH TRAY YOU’VE EVER SEEN:

It has a golden bull/cow on it! I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

And 2) I bought about approximately one squillion books. Not including the catchily titled ‘Deer Hunting with Jesus’:


And let's be honest, if vintage furniture like this doesn't get you excited (and you know what I mean by 'excited') then what will? I mean, where else? are you going to find this shade of 70's Olive in velvet on a footstool?

All in all, I think if you’re the kind of person that enjoys op-shopping a Lifeline and Vinnies and Endeavour shops, then you MUST (read: ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO NO OPTIONS) visit the tip shop. Let it surprise you by not being at all rubbish. I guess I’ll keep you updated with how our project progresses, and probably post more pictures of the awesome things I buy from the shop every time I go back there. I’m sure that will be nice. 


  1. if you want a great tip shop, go to the one on browns plains road. its beside the dump there so you get the wonderful rotting vegetation smell when the breeze is just right. and you get to fight the ibis for parking spaces.. but its twice the size, nay almost triple the size of acacia ridge and its open thurs-sun. look it up. the boy and i live there when he comes to visit.

  2. I'm American and hadn't ever heard the phrase "tip shop" before. Is the phrase Australian? We would call the place where rubbish goes the "dump"; in fact, I used to live at the bottom of "Dump Hill" where the landfill had been made into a hill, paved with a street and houses built.

    We DO have transfer stations here, but they seem dedicated to accepting things like computers, old paint, fluorescent light tubes, but not to reselling items that could be reused. (They DID allow people to take the old paint once, but discontinued the practice).

    1. You know, it probably is some kind of wierd Australian slang that we use without realising. I think 'dump' just sounds too harsh - the Tip Shop is actually a pretty nice place compared to what we would call a 'dump'. But thanks for reading - how did you even find out about this!?!?


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